Content created by Ali Uren Founder of Kiikstart

Gaining knowledge and insight alone is not enough when we need to design workplaces that create sustainable change.

I am going to share some of the key strategies and tactics used by two of our legendary outback tourism and hospitality clients to create a different business– long term. And in turn create healthy bottom lines and a quality team in the middle of the Australian desert.  

Our clients knew that to fulfill the purpose of being leaders in environmentally and socially responsible business their teams had to think like entrepreneurs.

To achieve this would require a deconstruction of the current business model – holistically.


We had to imbed thinking and doing cultures into the day to day reality of the team

So, what did this mean from a practical perspective?

  • Regular team meetings where ideas and innovation in regard to designing and trialling new experiences were discussed each week. And followed up consistently.

This led to a supportive place for ideas to be created and owned by the entire team.

  • All members of the team were expected to contribute solutions in terms of real and potential problems the business and workplace was facing.

Not just senior leaders and the General Manager doing all the heavy lifting.

  • There was an expectation backed by processes and follow up that ideas would be trialled and experimented in real time as agreed by the team.

Continual agreeance led to buy in which greatly reduced the risk of the team not delivering as and when expected.


Identified ideal outcomes and ways to measure -before starting the project. As a team.

Both businesses knew what outcomes and impact they wanted from the change project before they made the investment.

The entire team, not just leaders, worked with Kiikstart to agree on how impact/outcomes would be measured in the business and team.

Because they had input they had ownership and influence over the outcomes and impact that was achieved.

This ment they cared more about the result as they had dedicated more energy and effort to the overall process.

Embedded learning into all internal communications

There was a co-designed plan for staff to trial and experiment new learnings and insights back into the workplace in real-time and without delay as part of the transformation project.

Before investing time and headspace into the creation of different ideas staff knew the following:

1. How they would be supported by the business to trial new knowledge and ideas back into the workplace.

2. The motives of leadership in undertaking this work which was key to creating a sense of trust amongst the team.

The Leadership team provided the environment that allowed staff to deliver excellence.

3. And that they would be responsible for implementing their new found knowledge and insights across the organisation.

These two leading hospitality businesses did not wait until the yearly performance review to check in how valuable the learning was and where they have utilised it in their role over the past 12 months.

Regular follow up and real means of trialling the knowledge into the workplace was essential to success.

Measuring outcomes and impact through personalized learning and development plans

To be able to gain greater buy-in from staff, learning frameworks were created that delivered the following to the entire workforce during the change process.

  • A personalized approach to staff learning plans which had flexibility to meet future needs of the business, the talents of the staff and identified skill gaps.
  • A process attached to staff learning plans which captured and tracked the ROE (return on education) of learning back into the business.
  • Processes for staff to self-assess their own skill gaps and impact throughout the year on an ongoing basis.

Note staff and management then worked together on a plan to respond to identified skill gaps.

Inhouse learning reimagined

Consistent, weekly opportunities were created for the team to reflect on performance, gain new perspectives and take action with new knowledge.

There were also key quarterly and monthly check-ins with the team plus shorter, high impact check-ins daily (10 minutes) and weekly (30 minutes) catch ups.

These weekly team review/check ins focused on areas such as:

  • New ideas, observations and sources of inspiration.
  • Key successes/wins and why it has worked from the past week.
  • Key challenges in the past week and potential solutions.
  • Lessons learnt if something did not go to plan. Both at a business and individual level.
  • Any new gaps, threats or risks the team and business need to be aware of.
  • Guest feedback to reflect on and use to innovate- be it in person, email, phone or across any of the social media platforms including website.

Takeaway food for thought

Learning is just the beginning in an ongoing commitment to your workforce– it’s not the end game. If you think it is you will be bitterly disapointed and your expectations trashed.

It is the processes, discussions and support that underpins the learning that creates sustainable change in behaviour and thinking during challenge and transformation.

Wanting to access resources, tactics and personal support to make a real difference to how you co-design transformation and change across the business? Please reach out at or

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